It’s a classic case on comparison-itus — you have one very successful show with a distinct look and feel, and all other shows will be compared to it. Take Masters of Sex , which is frequently compared to Mad Men because of the era, or Grey’s Anatomy, which was compared to ER as they are both set in hospitals, for example. They're easy comparisons that help audiences "get it" and they happen all the time. By now you've probably already heard about the small Empire and Power feud going on — but, let me assure you Power is not really like Empire.
Back in January, Power's Executive Producer, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post:
POWER Season 2 is unbelievably good trust me. I have the best writers and showrunner. I like Terrence Howard and Taraji Henson. I don’t like that they would copy the marketing.
He’s referring, of course, to the Empire tagline: Empires are built on Power. It caused more than a bit of drama around the internet and, while I can see the comparison — both series feature family drama and have a strong musical influence — Empireand Power aren't the same show. Trust me.
It’s true that the two shows have a small amount of overlap. They're standing out as two of the few hit shows on television where almost all of the leads are African-American (a sad but true statement of the TV world we live in). But, while Terrance Howard and Omari Hardwick are both phenomenal actors with huge range, their characters could not be any more different. Howard’s Lucious Lyons is a ruthless businessman, sacrificing his family and friends at any turn for his own advancement, where Hardwick's Ghost is soft.
The pacing of the series also sets them apart completely — Empire burns through more of its plot in a single episode than Power went through in their entire first season. Power is a slow-burn with longterm payoff while Empire is more of a roller coaster ride that you just have to buckle up and hold on to. Sure, both shows feature clubs as major set-pieces, but you will never see Power's break out into a group song and dance number (unless it's Tasha, who should be contractually obligated to sing in every episode). In an interview with the TCA, Power series creator Courtney Kemp Agboh distanced the two shows, saying:
Their show is music driven. We’re doing two different things. Broadcast is so hard. I’ve worked in it. You don’t have the advantage to show your sex and violence. On Power we have this amazing thing to do whatever we want
Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any hard feelings on Empire’s side either. Following 50 Cent's Instagram in January, series stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard released funny responses to the criticism. So, if everyone is getting along so well, maybe now is the time to talk about a Power/Empire crossover?
Images: Chuck Hodes/FOX; empgifs/Tumblr